Honors Seminar in English: We All Fall Down: Childhood in Literature - Writing Intensive

We All Fall Down: Childhood in Literature
English 4996W
Section 2
Gabriel Fried
Course Description

In this seminar, we will engage some of the many compelling ways in which children and childhood are represented and deployed in works of fiction and poetry. We will begin with some idealized visions of children (if not of childhood) seen in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature, before moving on to more troubled versions in newer works. We will encounter children as innocents, heroes, sages, gods, victims, predators, scoundrels, and demons; and childhood as a haven, a mirage, a haunted house, and a prison. Primary works we will likely consider include the novels What Maisie Knew by Henry James, The Character of Rain by Amélie Nothomb, The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson, and We the Animals by Justin Torres; short stories by Stephen King, Flannery O’Connor, and Zitkála-Šá; poetry by Rita Dove, Louise Glück, Randall Jarrell, and Jamaica Kincaid; and photography by Lewis Carroll and Sally Mann. We will use various scholar texts to frame our responses to the primary texts. Students as a framing scholarly work, supplementing with various articles and reviews. Students will complete five short (3-4 page) papers, revising and expanding two of them.